Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Touch 'Em All: Angels and A's throwing themselves into battle

Oakland centerfielder Coco Crisp risked serious injury when he crashed into the wall in a gallant effort to rob Angels catcher Chris Iannetta of a two-run home run in the fifth inning Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.

Angels leftfielder Josh Hamilton hurled his body into foul territory to make a superb diving catch of Alberto Callaspo's fifth-inning pop-up with two on, to which centerfielder Mike Trout responded: "That's what I'm talking about, baby!"

Trout raced into the left-center-field gap and caught Stephen Vogt's drive before slamming into the wall to save a run in the fourth.

And Angels ace Jered Weaver pumped his fist violently and screamed an obscenity into the air after getting Josh Reddick to fly to left with the bases loaded to end the sixth.

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What the Angels-Athletics rivalry might lack in name-brand recognition or a decades-old history of bitterness, it is making up for in on-field intensity.

Emotions ran high again Friday night, as Weaver gave up three hits in seven shutout innings to lead the Angels to a 4-0 victory before an energized crowd of 41,177 in Angel Stadium.

"I don't know if it speaks to a rivalry or a pennant race; I think it really reflects on how hard these guys are playing," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of the spirited play.

Dodgers' extreme shift

A four-man shift by the Dodgers worked against San Diego lefthanded hitter Seth Smith.

A traditional infield against Yasmani Grandal did not.

Grandal singled in the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning and the Padres beat the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, Friday night.

Earlier in the inning, the Dodgers used a five-man infield, including a four-man shift against Smith, all stationed between first and second.

With runners on second and third and a 1-1 count to Abraham Almonte, the Dodgers brought in centerfielder Andre Ethier to play first base, with Adrian Gonzalez playing between first and second. Almonte walked. The Dodgers then went to a four-man shift against Smith. He grounded to second baseman Dee Gordon, who forced Amarista at home.

"We haven't used it with everyone all on one side," manager Don Mattingly said. "Seth is a shift guy for us and if you have five guys, you just put four on that side. It's at that point of the game and you have to do it."

Associated Press
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